The Waiting Game

God asks me to wait so often that sometimes I wonder if He understands the concept of time. Then I remember He created it. Do you every feel this way? Jeff and Christine Stanfield, who have served as missionaries in Kenya and now Uganda since 1990, have experienced similar feelings. Read on for an update and life lesson from Christine as she explores the idea of God as our gardener.

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Photo credit: Christine Stanfield

We moved to Uganda late in 2012. In February of 2013 we planted two starts of lemon trees. We asked, “How long does it take for lemon trees to bear fruit?” The answer we received was, “Usually 4-5 years here.”

That sounded about like forever then. However, we were delighted to discover in the spring months of 2017 that our lemon trees were blooming. “Don’t get too excited,” we told ourselves. “The trees may just bloom this first year and not yield any real fruit. But just imagine NEXT year!” Yumm, we could almost taste the lemon!

We have been thinking a lot about first fruit. We are about to complete our first term (two years) in the position of Country Director of WGM in Uganda. We feel like first fruit times. We had our scraggly spots through the term. We were cautious about the beginning.

To read the rest of this story, visit the Stanfields’ ministry blog.

ACT: Meditate on the idea that God’s plan for you at this moment could be to wait. God asks so many things of us; and oftentimes, when He asks us to wait, we can get impatient. Today, ask yourself, “What can I be learning about God? How can I grow closer to Him while I wait and look forward to what’s next?”

It All Starts with a Seed

Three students met together for Bible study and fellowship and to encourage one another in their Christian walks. The University Discipleship Movement in East Africa began at Kampala International University in Uganda with that seed in 2002. The students met only once a week and each attended their own churches on Sundays.

As time went on, more students joined the fellowship and other groups began to form. Eventually, the students started United Faith Chapel, a thriving community of believers and a full-fledged, student-led church in Kampala.

But God’s transforming work did not stop in Kampala. As the ministries at United Faith Chapel grew, students at other universities throughout East Africa asked the church to help them create their own student-led ministries, leading to the expansion of UDM. WGM is a part of this student-led movement, and Jonathan Mayo is one missionary who is very passionate and excited for how UDM is spreading throughout East Africa.

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Photo credit: Mayos

In the Mayos’ latest newsletter, Jonathan stated, “Our passion is to disciple and mentor students who will transform their world for Jesus Christ.”

“We have been blessed to see God’s kingdom grow during our years in Uganda. We have seen the missionary force grow, the church grow, Heritage International School grow, and the university ministries grow. In the last few years, our focus has been on students, both in universities and at Heritage. Students are growing closer to Jesus and are being challenged to be change agents for Him in their communities and countries. Heritage has students from over 25 countries. On the 20 university campuses where we work, the students represent at least 11 African countries. The mission field has come to us as we disciple and mentor these students. They have the potential to return to their home countries and bring transformation to their nations. Some who have graduated are now serving as lawyers, pastors, doctors, politicians, missionaries, and teachers. The potential for their impact is limitless!”

Praise God for this amazing ministry WGM is so fortunate to be a part of! If you would like to join WGM in helping the University Discipleship Movement, look at the action steps below to find out how you can partner with us to make a difference in lives in Africa.

GIVE: Help provide Bibles, Bible study materials, books on leadership, and other needed materials for UDM. Make checks payable to World Gospel Mission and write account #150-21343 on the memo line. Send check donations to:

World Gospel Mission
P.O. Box 948
Marion, IN 46952-0948

MORE: Learn more about UDM Africa.

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Photo credit: Mayos

Celebration Rallies Support Mission Work here, Abroad

Greenfieldreporter.com recently highlighted some missions work that happened last weekend. Did you know a dummy named Lazarus is part of a strategic plan to help inform kids as well as adults about missions work in Uganda that is changing lives?

Story by Anne Durham Smith

GREENFIELD — Sometime during her junior year at Ball State University, Jen Robbins realized it: Her favorite part of the week was the Bible study she was leading for freshmen women.

Robbins, a 2009 Greenfield-Central graduate, had never contemplated being a minister, so she had never expected ministry to be a career. But she points to that moment as one that began to shift her thinking.

Now she is a staff member with Cru at Ball State University, raising support so she can spend time with students. She works to reach out to those with questions about spirituality, as well as help Christian students grow in their faith, learning how to live it in everyday life and share it with others.

Robbins will meet with junior high and high school students during Youth Missions Night on Sept. 24 at Trinity Park United Methodist Church. It’s part of the church’s annual two-day Mission Celebration that begins Sept. 23 at the church, 207 W. Park Ave., Greenfield.

The annual celebration is a peek into different kinds of outreach happening both around the world and close to home. Organizer Nancy Grimes has said anyone is welcome to come simply to hear these stories and be encouraged.

For Trinity Park members considering their Faith Promise giving commitments for the year ahead, the celebration also informs them about ways their contributions are being used. Faith Promise is an offering beyond regular giving to the local church.

“We give in faith, knowing that the kinds of support we can give to missionaries … will have a tremendous impact,” said the Rev. Larry Van Camp, senior pastor of the church.

Nearly $50,000 is pledged annually at this event, and those funds support more than 60 projects locally and globally. They range from bringing monthly birthday parties to students at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility to supporting New Palestine High School graduate Ashley Malloy’s work as a nurse practitioner in Uganda. The church also joined with Hagerstown United Methodist Church in a March mission work camp to help rebuild Louisiana homes flooded in August 2016.

A recent addition to the list of supported work, Van Camp said, is a Nigerian man who focuses on reconciliation between the Christian and Muslim communities in Nigeria.

Van Camp, who came to the church in July after the Rev. Michael Manning’s retirement, is familiar with the concept of Faith Promise giving and has been to similar mission gatherings at other churches he’s served over the past 36 years. He served at Cumberland United Methodist Church in the early 1990s and has also led churches in Clarksville, Bloomington, Rockport and Jasper.

Van Camp has been part of various mission work camps through the years. They began with a trip to Haiti when he was a high school freshman, helping dig the foundation for a hospital expansion in Port-au-Prince with picks and shovels in sweltering heat.

He said he’s heard about a rich history of mission involvement at Trinity Park and is looking forward to experiencing Mission Celebration firsthand.

Keynote speaker for the weekend is the Rev. John Muehleisen. His wife, Beth, is a nurse. They have served in Africa for 32 years, the last 10 of those in Uganda.

They have visited Indiana before, not only because World Gospel Mission’s headquarters is in Marion but also because they’ve visited previous Mission Celebrations at Trinity Park. He was the main speaker at the 2002 and 2013 celebrations. He’s a ventriloquist, and his dummy, Lazarus, will also be part of the weekend.

John and Beth Muelheisen

John Muehleisen said mission work has changed over the years, from a mission field to a mission force of people working alongside each other. He’s impressed by his Ugandan ministry partners.

“They’re fearless,” he said. “They have incredible faith.”

Together, they train people to share public health information, such as the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net or washing hands after using the bathroom. They gather five or six churches, each represented by three to four people, and conduct workshops on community health, women’s issues or agriculture methods. The hope is that this information is carried back to communities and used to save lives.

The sessions are offered through local churches so they can develop relationships with their communities. Throughout the work, they try to balance the practical and the spiritual, he said, believing good deeds alone will point to themselves but deeds coupled with a message of faith will point people toward God.

“It’s our goal that God would get glory,” he said, “and people’s lives would be changed.”

Will you join the Muehleisens as they play a vital part in changed lives in Uganda?

 

Textbook Perfect

Scared for their son, Ezra, but trusting in God, Nathan and Jade Metz were stuck between trusting in God and fearing the unknown. With nightmares waking and thoughts of what could be, the journey has not been without its challenges. What would their son be like after his brain surgery? The answer is in the title of this post, but it is also so much more. Read on to learn as Nathan tells how God performed a miracle in little Ezra’s life.

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Photo credit: Nathan and Jade Metz

“Among our children we’ve witnessed optimism and hope that builds such powerful encouragement and strength within us. Prior to the surgery they said things like, ‘Today is the day Ezra will be healed!’ and ‘Ezra just had the final seizure of his life.’ It does Jade and I a lot of good to hear such positive, faith-filled perspective from our children. Jade and I have handled the process in our own ways with ups and downs, highs and lows. This morning I testify.

“God’s promises are full and final. He does not struggle to remain faithful to us. His love is complete. Less than 48 hours after his surgery, Ezra has no bandage on his head, walks around his room with ease, plays games with us, speaks, eats and exceeds nearly every expectation we had for him at this stage. The doctors agree. And so in a few hours, we are going home. Is he fully healed? We won’t be able to make that kind of statement for quite a while. Following the surgery, the doctor said she has every reason to believe that this surgery has cured his epilepsy. Is God faithful? I testify today: God is faithful. God is good. I am a father full of joy and thankfulness. We are parents full of praise and relief. We are a family covered in love, hope, and peace.

“Medically speaking: Ezra’s left hippocampus was removed in a ‘textbook perfect’ surgery called a Left Temporal Lobectomy. He now has a circular scar above his left ear about the size of a baseball with a small line in front of his ear. The incision is not stitched. Instead, they use a special ‘super glue’ with antiseptic in it that will hold the skin in place and fall off on its own once the wound is healed. He will have about two weeks of ‘taking it easy’ at home before returning to school and moderate routine activities. It will be about a month before he is riding his bike or jumping on the trampoline. Three months from now, his brain will be fully healed.

“Jade and I have been so incredibly encouraged by our family, friends, and community. We spent the day of surgery with 15-20 who came to sit with us in the waiting room. As other families came and went we sat in waiting for one of the longest surgeries of the day. I can’t imagine going through such a scenario on our own. Community changes everything. As Ezra moved from his post-op bed to the ICU to his recovery room we enjoyed a steady stream of visiting friends with balloons, Legos, cards and meaningful time. Behind the scenes, there were hundreds and hundreds of you praying from all over the world. We are thankful for those who came, those who prayed and all who stood in support of Ezra and our family. Please join us today and praise our Father for what the doctors are calling a ‘textbook perfect surgery’, a ‘perfect CT scan’ and a ‘perfect recovery’. What an awesome, powerful experience this has been.”

Praise God! How wonderful He is to heal! Yesterday, as my nephew Ezra hugged me in my office for longer than expected, my heart rejoiced. It is so good to have him with us, and I am excited to see how Ezra will grow and change as he heals. I can’t imagine the joy Nathan and Jade must be feeling, but their journey, in some ways, has just begun.

ACT: Will you pray for Ezra’s recovery and for the rest of the Metz family as they work together to support him?